Thinking out loud – keep it to yourself

A great coaching and development session today left me with as much food for thought as my client.

Looking at someone else’s communication habits and challenges always helps me refresh my own approach and remember how useful tools and techniques are. For example, today the Flesch-Kincaid readability index once again proved its worth in showing what a difference short sentences and simple words make.

Taking communication back to the basics of “why?” and “for whom?”, we discovered something interesting. There are times when you write to clarify your own thoughts and work through ideas and facts. If your learning style and thinking tends to be verbal – like mine – it can really help you get complex information straight in your mind and form a coherent view.

But it’s a problem if you then send that thought process out in an email to others. Let’s call it over-sharing. While it’s great to be open and generous with your evolving thinking, people don’t need to see the complete work in progress. It’s confusing and overwhelming. They just need the simple, clear expression of the result of your thinking.

So beware of using communications to conduct your inner monologue. Help yourself by writing things down, create a document by all means, but keep it to yourself. Only share the edited output when you’re clear about the value of the information to others and have expressed it with their needs and capabilities in mind.

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